JPNC Talks Zoning, Elugardo Update

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) held their monthly meeting on February 25, where State Rep. Nika Elugardo and JPNC Committee Chairs provided updates.

As previously reported by the Gazette, Elugardo said that public safety in the neighborhood has improved over the past year, and she will be switching over one of her district priorities from public safety to small and mid-sized businesses and entrepreneurs.

“I believe in progressive taxation,” Elugardo said, adding that she believes that taxation should be a “shared sacrifice” for businesses as well.

“In September of this year, provided I get elected, I want to begin drafting legislation in response to what I’ve heard from small business owners and allies,” she said. She said she has already begin to walk around with business owners in Mission Hill, and will be giving reports as she learns more.

Elugardo has also been working on public housing legislation, as well as jobs for youth and elders. She also discussed rent control, which she said she prefers to call “rent stabilization.” She said that a lot of lower income homeowners own buildings with three or less units, and rent stabilization could end up doing more harm than good for these people. She said she is working on “trying to find creative ways to protect everyone who needs support from the public good and the public common,” as she doesn’t want to “create something that’s too onerous for lower income housing owners.

By allowing municipalities to decide how something like rent stabilization should be implemented, Elugardo believes a more fair system could be set up.

Zoning Committee

JPNC Zoning Committee Chair David Baron reported on three projects that were heard at the February 25 meeting of the committee.

At 91 Green St., he reported that the applicant proposed the construction of an addition on the rear of the existing house to create an additional dwelling unit and a garage. He said that many neighbors came out to the meeting in support of the project, but there was a letter of opposition from the Sumner Hill Neighborhood Association. He said the Association was critical of the screening and buffering related to the proposal, and also thought the property was too close to others, they wanted permeable pavers, and a narrower driveway. The JPNC approved this project with the provisos that the applicant will work with the abutters on screening/buffering, permeable pavers must be used, and to narrow the driveway if possible to match the curb cut.

At 84 Southbourne Rad, the proposal was to add a one story addition to the rear of the existing single-family house. Baron said that the house is already very small, and the proposed addition is also small.

“These little houses are architecturally significant,” Baron said, so there was some opposition at the committee meeting, including from a neighbor who was concerned about seeing the addition from the rear of their house. The JPNC voted to approve the application with the proviso that that the applicant have an arborist consult on the evacuation of the basement, as well as the proviso that the applicant seek design review through the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).

At 493 Walnut Ave., the proposal was to construct a new garage addition to an existing single-family home. Baron said that the proposed garage is a “very modest-sized garage,” and nobody at the meeting was in opposition, so the JPNC voted to approve the project.

Public Service Committee

JPNC Public Service Committee Chair Michael Reiskind reported that at the February Public Service Committee meeting, the 225 Centre St. location of Jamaica Mi Hungry proposed a 7-Day Common Victually All Alcohol License with a closing hour of 1:00am (three or four times a year only), a seasonal outdoor 15-seat patio, and an entertainment license for three TVs.

“Everybody thought this was a great use for the site,” Reiskind said. “everybody was strongly in favor.” He said that the patio is to close by 10:00pm, and the requested 1:00am closing hour will only be about three times a year for special events.

The JPNC voted to approve this application with the proviso that alcohol be served with food only. 

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